Kettlebell Workouts For Women

 I’ve been training my wife at home over the past couple of months. It makes for a funny dynamic because I have to remember that "she’s my wife" and not one of my other clients.

It’s always difficult for me to train her. It’s hard enough already to make that separation between work and home, but there I am wearing my "work hat" while holding a 6-month-old and guarding the area to make sure that none of the other kids gets hit by a swinging kettlebell.

Regardless, something’s working.  Over the past 8 weeks that she’s been training at home – using only kettlebells & bodyweight exercises – she’s dropped almost 15lbs.  What’s more, she’s a lot stronger that she’s ever been.

Here’s a little peak into her weekly routine:

Monday – soccer practice (She plays for a women’s team that trains every Monday night for 2 hours.)

Tuesday – Off

Wednesday – Kettlebell & Bodyweight Training

Thursday – Off

Friday – Kettlebell & Bodyweight Training

Saturday – Family Hill Day (I’ve got a video to show you about this in the upcoming weeks!)

Sunday – Kettlebell & Bodyweight Training

On her training days, we focus on full-body workouts that can get pretty intense.

Because of the limited time we have, her sessions usually take no longer that 30-minutes and most days they’re closer to 20-minutes in length.

Here are some considerations that I take when training my wife and women in general:

1. NEVER skip the warm-up. My wife, the poor thing, has been pregnant the good part of 12 years (we have 5 kids). So, because her body is still – even after 2-3 months of training – getting accustomed to intense exercise, it is imperative that she warm-up correctly. 

Warming up properly isn’t about hopping on a treadmill and going for a 5-minute jog. First we start out with foam rolling and then some static stretching for her hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, pecs & lats. Then we start a series of short planks, side planks & bridges to "fire-up" her abs. Then we finish doing a series of hip-mobility and glute activation exercises.  The warm-up alone takes close to 7-10 minutes. 

2. Limit the squats – Believe me, I know the benefit of squats. But, with my wife especially, we will squat once every 2 weeks. Women in general, because of the angle of thier hips in relation to their knees, are quad dominant. So instead, we focus on doing a lot of work for her hamstrings and glutes. Reverse & walking lunges, bulgarian split squats, step-ups deadlifts and especially kettlebell swings are staples in our program.

3. Minimal horizontal pressing – My wife does push-ups. That’s it. No floor presses, no bench pressing, just push-ups. And when we do the push-ups, we focus more on the squeezing of her shoulder blades on the "down" motion than we do on the actual "pushing-up" part. Why? Because she (as do most women) has tight pecs already. I’ve found that if we focus on the scapular retraction (trainer speak for squeezing the shoulder blades) I can get her to subconsciously open up her chest to force herself into "good posture".

4. Lots of "core" work – Prior to our "finisher" we always do a tri-set of a combination of abdominal exercises. These exercises aren’t of the sit-up or leg raise variety, but emphasize her ability to move parts of her body in space but still keep her torso stable.  We’ll do planks, side planks, mountain climbers, spiderman climbs, opposite hip touches and reverse ab curls. Remember, your abs are their to hold you in place, not to move your chest to your hips (like in a sit-up).

Training the abs properly, especially in women who have had children, is critical. Don’t underestimate the necessity of a sound abdominal & core program for women.

5. We "finish" strong. We always finish with kettlebell swings. I LOVE KETTLEBELL SWINGS and wrote about why they are so great HERE

Prior to this month, I was getting her to do 100 2-arm swings in as few sets as possible with an 8kg kettlebell. But this month, she’s working on doing 1 all out set with the 12kg KB. She’s up to 65 straight and that’s after all the other main exercises she does at the beginning of the workout.

I’ll give you an update of how she’s doing over the next few weeks, but over all, she’s happy with the progress.  

And for those of you who are married, we all know, when Mommy’s happy, everyone’s happy!

-Chris

p.s. Sorry, but she won’t let me post any pictures of her progress…yet :-)

 

p.p.s. Did you know that the TT KB Revolution comes with a women’s specific workout.

=>Check out the TT KB Revolution complete with the Women’s Specific Workout

 

11 Comments

  • Reply May 17, 2010

    Body Workout 101

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  • Reply May 17, 2010

    michael

    Great post. I love that you and your wife workout together, and the point of the scapular retraction is very important for everyone. Like u said it helps posture. By the sounds of it your wife has already got her summer body. You’re a lucky man. :D

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  • Reply May 19, 2010

    Clement

    Hey Chris, I was wondering if, as a soccer player myself, is it a better idea to focus on hamstring work like you do for your wife or if it’s alright to squat as much as I work my hams. Thanks!

    • Hi Clement,

      I’d focus on hamstring/glute work and on unilateral work (like pistols, lunges, split squats, bulgarians, etc) to help with athletic performance. Squats are great too, but I think there will be more carryover with the single leg stuff.

      chris

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  • Reply March 23, 2011

    Jenice Martinez

    Hi Chris,

    Hey, I have been told by a orthopedic specilaist that I have arthritis in both knees, 41 yr. old female and overweight. I’ve done kettlebells before. Are there any kettlebell workouts that I should skip or forgo to avoid causing further damage or pain? Can I substitute one movement for another? Please let me know, I am starting a kettlebell video at home.

    Thank you.

  • Reply July 12, 2011

    Shawna

    Hello Chris,
    Just found your amazing site. I am a beginner with Kettleball. I am unsure as to the weight(s) I need to start with. Can you recommend a beginning weight.
    I am 5’8″, not horribly fat, I walk for exercise, and I hike long distances every chance I get.

    Thank you, Shawna

  • Reply July 19, 2011

    lisa h

    I am 46 and small framed. The problem i am having is just my abs and love handles which started last year and is progressively getting worse. I need immediate help.

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